Everything Dan Lanning said during his Sunday night press conference
Everything Dan Lanning said during his Sunday night press conference
Lanning: “First off, I’d like to start by giving coach Ulmer and the volleyball team a shout-out for their success and making it to the Sweet 16. Obviously for our guys here, extremely excited for our opportunity to go play in the Holiday Bowl against a really great opponent in North Carolina. I think this is one of the best bowls out there. Certainly enjoyed getting the opportunity to go out there with this team one more time, this 2022 team, one more time and compete. We’re excited. Our guys have kind of got an opportunity here to charge our batteries and really get healthy. You know, that’s where a lot of bowl prep is at. Also, we’re finishing up academically right now in the classroom, we want to do a good job there of finishing there the right way. With that being said, we can open this up for questions.”
Q: Is there an update on DJ Johnson and his alleged punching incident and will he be playing in the Holiday Bowl?
Lanning: “First is just gathering information. We don’t want to be a program that just operates based off of what we don’t have. And taking a deeper dive into that situation doing some investigating on our end and really on the other side, through a few avenues you realize that DJ was in a moment there in which he certainly wishes he would’ve acted different, but something was said that was pretty extreme to him that some people might act in a similar fashion. I certainly don’t condone the behavior. I know DJ wishes he could have that moment back. It’s an intense situation, but those things happen at times and I know that he would handle it different if given the opportunity. He’s a guy who has an opportunity to compete and move on in the NFL Draft and has put himself in position to do that. I think he’s going to go take a chance to go to the Senior Bowl, but I don’t want to speak for him too much, but I think right now he’s in preparation for the draft.”
Q: How soon did you know that Kenny Dillingham was moving on and did that give you a head start in the OC search?
Lanning: “I think anytime… One, you try to be prepared for those moments, all the time. When you hire really good coaches, you know that you’re going to get great opportunities for them down the road. And one thing that I’ve said from day one as my goal whether it’s a player going on to the NFL or a coach in the opportunity to go on and be a head coach, you want those moments to happen. You want to hire good people and create moments like that for people. So, you know, usually these things go really, really quick. I knew that there was always going to be an opportunity potentially for Kenny and there will be for other coaches in the future and our staff. We’re going to be a staff that has great coaches, so they’re going to have an opportunity to get other chances, but that one really happened really quick towards the end of the season. It was rapid. But certainly we had a plan in place as we move forward.”
Q: What’s the status of the offensive coordinator search and what are the characteristics you look for?
Lanning: “It’s going really well. You know, I’d love to sit here and say I can tell you an announcement right now, I’m not ready to be in that position, but we are getting close. You know, I feel that the interest in this job is obviously extreme, and you get an opportunity to be thorough and diligent as you go through that process and looking for opportunities to enhance your program. I’ll also tell you that we have some phenomenal coaches here on our staff that are certainly qualified to be the offensive coordinator here. And that’s something that we’ll definitely explore every opportunity here as we move forward and what that’ll look like. I’m not going to ask anybody to come in right now and call the bowl game. Different from what we’ve done in the past. I don’t think that’s fair to bring a brand new coach and ask them to call the ball game when there’s terminology and some differences there. That being said, you know, Drew Mehringer, Junior Adams, Adrian Klemm, Carlos Locklyn, our offensive staff will prep us, Jordan Somerville, will prep us as we move into the bowl game and be ready to take on the bowl game and compete with some of that same terminology and things that we’ve attacked this season.”
Q: Is Bo Nix going to play in the bowl game?
Lanning: “Bo’s a competitor. He wants to get out there and play in this game for sure.”
Q: Will Kenny come back and coach the bowl game and if not, who is going to be the OC?
Lanning: “I think it’ll be a collaborative effort with our offensive staff. I think Coach Mehringer and Coach Adams will really take on the lead roles there. Again, they’ve both been coordinators in the past. We certainly have a staff that’s qualified to do that. They’ve been a big part. I think Kenny would be the first one to tell you that they’ve been a big part of this process this entire season and the success that we’ve had on offense, and they’ll continue to be that moving forward for us. So I see it being a collaborative effort with the offense but Coach Mehringer and Coach Adams really taking care of the lead role on some of those things.”
Q: How have you tried to boost the teams moral to get them excited for the bowl game after a tough loss at Oregon State?
Lanning: “There’s not a lot of teams in the nation right now they get an opportunity to go play to get 10 wins. And there’s not a lot of, not every team in the nation gets an opportunity to play in a bowl game and this is a great bowl game versus a really good opponent. I think every one of our guys is anxious to get out there and do just that. You play for the love of the game. You play because you love football. You love to compete. And our guys want to get out there on the field and do that.”
Q: Where are you looking to enhance your team through the portal?
Lanning: “We’re gonna look to enhance our program in every facet, every opportunity that we get to make our program better. I think we did a really good job this past season of bringing the right people to the program. I want to say we had maybe 10 guys that we brought in, you know, scholarship guys that we brought in and all of them were really big time contributors for us this season. So the goal is to find good people that fit the characteristics that we’re looking for in our program, regardless of just position and certainly you’ll look for some position specific pieces, but I’m not going to limit our search to just a couple positions. We’re going to look for guys that make our program better and that fit our culture as we move forward.”
Q: With Christian Gonzalez announcing he’s going to the NFL Draft, just what have you seen from him this season?
Lanning: “Yeah, so impressed with Christian. I think Christian is experiencing now what so many of us saw in him when he first got here, and what he has is he’s a product of a great family, a product of a coach that did a really good job there with Coach Martin and our defensive staff, but really also a product of just a great young man. Christian has been elite in everything that he’s done for our program. He’s worked really hard to earn everything that he’s got, and I’m really proud of him. And I know that he wants to be out there compete with his brothers, but you know, sometimes those decisions had to be left to the family members and other people that are looking out for his interest. And that being said, Christian has done a ton for our program. We’re certainly grateful for his contribution.”
Q: Are you aware of any more opt outs and what opportunity do the opt outs/transfers provide for other players?
Lanning: “The landscape continues to change but right now I don’t anticipate any others. But that being said, things can change and we’ll be ready whoever’s ready to go step on the field. We’ll make sure we have 11 out there on the field ready to go compete.”
Q: How do you envision tomorrow being with the transfer portal?
Lanning: “First, I guess the thing I would say is I wonder if you could go back however months, however many months this first started if this is what we wanted? Is this really what we wanted college football to be? And I don’t know if that’s a reality. That yeah, what’s tomorrow gonna look like? I don’t know that any of us really, truly know. And you want to be prepared for it as a coach. We prepare for a lot of different scenarios. I know this, at surface level, the intent, what the portal was intended to do, was really a great opportunity for student athletes. And now where it’s headed, I don’t know if that’s the case. And I don’t know if that’s great for college football. That being said, we’re going to take care of, take advantage of every resource that we have to enhance our program and make us better and it certainly helped us this past year. We’re going to look for opportunities and help enhance us moving forward. So it’s been really good to us. We’ve done a really good job of managing it. We’re going to look for the right ways to manage it moving forward what it will look like in college football. I think tomorrow could be certainly a different day.”
Q: Do you look for scheme fit or continuity for your next offensive hire?
Lanning: “Ultimately, this is the Oregon system like we have an offensive plan that we put together when we got here and that doesn’t change when the offensive coordinator changes. There’s some things that we believe in there that we’re going to carry as long as I’m here. We’re gonna have a philosophy and in what we look like, we’re going to be able to adapt, moving forward and the traits of who we are, that’s not really going to change. As you look for a fit you look for somebody that brings elements to the program that you’re excited about. Some things that you can adapt, grow every year, we’re going to do a self scout and evaluate what we can do better. Find some things that we think are areas for us to grow, but college football changes every year. So if we came out and we ran the exact same offense next year that we ran this year, with no changes, that would be a poor performance on our part, we’re gonna grow and play to the strengths of our players. And I expect whoever we have there and in the offensive coordinator chair to do the same thing.”
Q: How do you manage expectations of rumors of potential coaching candidates?
Lanning: “I don’t really worry about other people’s expectations. What you do is you hire the best people you possibly can for the job. I know, 12 months ago, there were some hires that I made that people weren’t necessarily as excited about. And I think the results speak for themselves. We did really, you know, things went really well. So people are gonna write whatever they want. Here’s what you have to know: I’m going to do anything and everything I can to make sure we get the best people in place for Oregon to be successful in football. And luckily here, we have the ability to go attract the best of the best. Don’t really care what logo they have on, don’t care what team they’re associated with. I’m interested in getting the best people. And when you get an opportunity to get the best people that’s when you have a chance to be successful in the field and you know what? Players know what it. The minute you put them in front of them in the room, the minute you out there to the practice field, they realize what good coaching looks like. And we’re going to make sure that we have good coaches in place to enhance our program.”
Q: Is it a benefit to have the bowl game later to give more opportunity for prep/recruiting?
Lanning: “I think there certainly could be some benefits. I don’t like living in the world of hypotheticals and what would have been different. You know, there’s a lot of things going on for our players right now too. We’re entering finals week, you know, so we want to do make sure we’re doing a great job in the classroom. Obviously, it’s a big recruiting week as well. And really weeks leading up to the 21st here as we move forward. So, but we’re playing in the game and the holiday Holiday Bowl, and we’re excited about it.”
Q: Is there a timeline of when you expect a OC to be named?
Lanning: “Somewhere between now and when it happens. It’ll happen when it happens. Don’t worry, we’re not going to coach with nine next year. We’re gonna make sure we have 10, and we’re gonna be really good at it. I promise you.”
Q: Can you give us your thoughts on Jordan Somerville and what he means to the program?
Lanning: “Well, this great opportunity for me to shout him out. Jordan, along with a lot of our young coaches on our staff here, Jordan has experience he came here as a guy that was a you know, full time position coach in division one football. He’s done an outstanding job, and he has the respect and admiration of our players. He’s done a good job in recruiting. He’s done a good job in relationships, and he certainly is a good coach. So it’s a good opportunity for him to be able to elevate and excited to see what he does with those guys.”
Q: How are you balancing working towards a bowl game and recruiting?
Lanning: “Live in the moment and have good people around you that can help you stay organized as you move forward and always have a plan. So go to bed knowing what you’re doing in the next day. Focus in the moment that you’re at right now, but have a plan moving forward.”
Q: Who are your JACK linebackers for the bowl game?
Lanning: “You’ll see. You’ll see when we go out there on the field. You know the guys on our team.”
Q: When does bowl prep and practice start for you guys?
Lanning: “It’s varied. We’ll get a couple of practices in, we actually got to practice in last week. We’ll get practicing again, a couple practices in this week. I’m leaving here for a home visit. We’re going to keep it moving. We’ve got every hour, every minute of each day kind of mapped out and that’s the way you have to operate at his time. You lean on people that you know that have done it before and you adjust on the fly. So we’ll have practices this week. The closer we get to the bowl game, the more it’ll ramp up, our players will get a chance to really take a small break right before we leave for the bowl site. We’ll come back here and get a practice before we leave for the bowl site and we’ve kind of detail that playing out for our players. But rule number one right now make sure that we’re enhancing ourselves, getting healthier and stronger in the weight room. Make sure we’re taking care of our business in the classroom and then when we do get the chance to take the practice field we compete. And then as we get closer we’ll start to continue to move to more practices. Right now the focus is really just us. We’re focused on Oregon. We haven’t started opponent prep yet, that’ll happen as we get closer to the moment moving forward.”
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